2018 Los Angeles Angels Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
Mike Trout, pretty much universally viewed as the best player in the game, has been in the league for six seasons. The Los Angeles Angels have been somewhere between ordinary and bad for five of those years. The only 'good' year was 2014 when they won the division, but then they were swept by the Royals in the ALDS. It's a shocking waste of a generational talent. Last year had some bright spots, and they finished second in their division despite winning only 80 games. They just need to be better, and there are some solid signs that they will indeed be this year. Improving on that second-place finish will be very tough with the Astros still at the top of their game, but they can and should be much better than 80 wins.
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Angels 2018 Projected Lineup
Injuries were a big problem last year, and Mike Trout saw another MVP-caliber season cut short. Staying healthy alone could have a big boost to the fate of this team. Trout comes into this season healthy and hungry and should be a freak yet again.
The infield has gone through tweaks. Zack Cozart, a shortstop up until now, joins from the Reds and will likely be moved to third base, and Ian Kinsler will now play second as long as he still has life left in his 36-year-old legs. Neither guy is young - Cozart is 33 - but they both have experience to burn. Cozart is coming off a career year, but Kinsler struggled last year and will need a rebound if he is going to prove valuable. Along with Andrelton Simmons at second base, this has a chance to be one of the best defensive infields in the league. Offensively there are more questions.
Justin Upton joined the team late last year and will be a key part of this offense now. He is coming off an excellent year - he was one of only four guys in the league to amass 35 home runs and 100 RBIs while scoring 100 times. Others in that group included the NL MVP and AL ROY, so it's impressive company. He's still only 30, so another strong year is a definite possibility.
I'd really like to see more form Kole Calhoun. The rightfielder is entrenched, and his defense is strong enough to have won a gold glove in 2015. But his bat leaves a whole lot to be desired, and I really think they could - and should - do better. The same obviously goes for DH, where Albert Pujols still drives in runs - he had 101 RBIs last year - but is so far from what he was that it is easy to forget just how great he was.
Angels 2018 Projected Rotation and Closer
Shohei Ohtani is so interesting here, because we just don't know what he is. He was a superstar in Japan, but how that will translate - both on the mound and at the plate - is a mystery. He's also dealing with some elbow injuries while avoiding surgery, so that is a concern as well. He'll be fun to watch. Garrett Richards is a big question, too - he has been very good when he has pitched, but good health has been a rare exception the last two years. And Matt Shoemaker also has questions as he was limited to 14 games last year due to injury. Those three could be the foundation of a real strong rotation or they could be a collection of headaches. Only time will tell.
What the team really needs is some stability. They used 31 different pitchers last year, and that is obviously far from ideal. They have some decent talent and some nice enough pieces at the bottom of the rotation and in the bullpen. At their best this is a pitching staff that can do what the team needs them to do. The staff was also the big reason the team won only 80 games last year, though, so luck needs to be on their side.
Angels Futures Odds
Oddsmakers kind of like this team. They sit at +2000 to win the World Series at BetOnline , which has them behind only seven teams. Given the struggles of the last few years, those are lofty heights. They are the fifth choice to win the AL at +1000 and the second choice to win the AL West at +450, though they are miles behind the Astros at -240. Shohei Ohtani's season win total in his debut season sits at just 10.5. Mike Trout is at +2000 to win the home run title, which places him behind only five players. That is a silly price for the kind of hitter he is and offers no value at all. The season win total for the team sits at 84.5, and action has been split on both sides.
Angels 2018 Predictions
I like a lot about this team, and I expect them to be in the wild card mix. That wild-card race shouldn't be that crowded. The Yankees or Red Sox should have one spot locked up, but the rest of the AL East isn't great, the Central is a mess other than the Indians and Twins, and only Seattle is a reasonable contender in the West - with Houston obviously being close to a lock to win the division. So it could just be a three- or four-team race for one spot, and the Angels appear to be the best of them - or at least have the potential to be. I lean towards the over for the season win total but not with a lot of enthusiasm given the pitching questions.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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